5E New Unearthed Arcana: Psionics!

There’s a new Unearthed Arcana article out, and it’s all about psionics! "Their minds bristling with power, three new subclasses arrive in today’s Unearthed Arcana: the Psychic Warrior for the fighter, the Soulknife for the rogue, and the tradition of Psionics for the wizard."

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In this 9-page PDF, there are also some new psionics-themed spells (including versions of classic psionic powers like id insinuation and ego whip) and two new feats.
 
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Comments

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I am saying D&D has a tradition of throwing spells at anything they want to be extraordinary its a bit willy nilly sometimes they design a new subsystem ... but not consistently because if anything was consistent it was inconsistency.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
Should hmmm well that word "should" is a judgement call. Think of it this way If nature and survival skills were given more elaboration the need for spells for the ranger really wouldn't exist. In 1e especially it always felt like they pasted on spells at a high levels because they couldnt be bothered to develop a skill system to represent the extraordinary things he could do. (and the spells he did get were so low level when he got them they were useless)
Ok, so the argument is that a better skill system would remove the need for spells.

Sure, I guess? It has nothing to do with anything I've been talking about. Could have done the same with Druids. Maybe given wizards enough with Arcana to make an entire skill system instead of ritual magic. It is possible.

But I would also say that a skill system that complex would necessarily be a nightmare to add to, and would move away from "roll the skill, figure out the result" because you would need chart upon chart for various factors to make it complex and robust enough to do all that lifting.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Ok, so the argument is that a better skill system would remove the need for spells.
No probably not .... unless yes you put magic as skills too.
Sure, I guess? It has nothing to do with anything I've been talking about. Could have done the same with Druids. Maybe given wizards enough with Arcana to make an entire skill system instead of ritual magic. It is possible.
It relates directly as to whether you need a separate distinct mechanic ie subsystems. Psionics or Skills or Spells same fishes in that barrel.

The game Ars Magica had rote spells you could think of them as planned and practiced stunts that worked off of the magic skills. AND you could have planned and practiced stunts that worked off of other skills.

But a system that used such commonality would surely get mocked to hell in D&D land and called not D&D. But its fine for Aragorn to be forced into spell casting.

You know we could call the extraordinary well defined stunts feats in 3e and skill powers in 4e.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
....

Which sounds like exactly what I was suggesting when I was told "if you feel this dire need of reusing spells ".

It is about not giving them special treatment, because the design philosophy is to reuse the spells they made if possible, instead of giving out multiple identical abilities that do the exact same mechanical thing.
There should still be some unique to psionics "spells" that grant the class some of the abilities from prior editions.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Too much overlap and you end up looking like a cleric... 😆
Hah! Seriously though, WoTC is never going to release a new class that's just kind two other classes bunged together and some reskinned magic. I know that that isn't what people are asking for mostly, I'm being negative there for a reason. I guess to index that a Psionic class is only going to happen if WoTC thinks they do something interesting and fresh with it.

@ Maxperson - spells is one idea, but I think I'd probably go with some kind of skill tree with stackable abilities that's separate from spells. It's probably inevitable that some of the mechanics of a Psionic class, should we see one, will be based at least in part on spell casting of some sort - something with slots and levels, probably that at least resembles the list from the UA. I don't think adding more spells is a better answer than non-spell abilities, which would allow you to step outside the current spell mechanics and do something different. I might even go so far as to say that the non-spell mechanics are what will make or break the idea of a Psion class generally. Reskinning and modifying the spell rules is pretty easy, ti's the rest of the class that will take some ingenious thought.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
No probably not .... unless yes you put magic as skills too.

It relates directly as to whether you need a separate distinct mechanic ie subsystems. Psionics or Skills or Spells same fishes in that barrel.

The game Ars Magica had rote spells you could think of them as planned and practiced stunts that worked off of the magic skills. AND you could have planned and practiced stunts that worked off of other skills.

But a system that used such commonality would surely get mocked to hell in D&D land and called not D&D. But its fine for Aragorn to be forced into spell casting.

You know we could call the extraordinary well defined stunts feats in 3e and skill powers in 4e.
Aragorn isn't forced into spellcasting.

DnD Ranger's use Spellcasting, Aragorn is still the same as Tolkien wrote him.

But, my point has never been it is impossible to make a subsystem uniquely suited for psionics. Of course we could.

The point was that, if we are going to give them telekinesis, we might end up first looking at the spell telekinesis, since the developers already defined what that does and said "these are the mechancis for telekinesis."

The design so far has been the "conservation of mechanics", so it is not unreasonable that they are going to reuse spells when giving out abilities. Not because "everything is magical and should be spells anyways" but because "if we have this piece that does exactly what we want, why are we going to make a new piece that does exactly the same thing, but with a different name"?


There should still be some unique to psionics "spells" that grant the class some of the abilities from prior editions.

Sure, they should definetly have some unique mechanics. I'm just saying they won't be completely unique mechanics. WoTC is going to recycle as they build.
 

Lord-Archaon

Explorer
Hah! Seriously though, WoTC is never going to release a new class that's just kind two other classes bunged together and some reskinned magic. I know that that isn't what people are asking for mostly, I'm being negative there for a reason. I guess to index that a Psionic class is only going to happen if WoTC thinks they do something interesting and fresh with it.
Ranger, Paladin, Sorcerer we are looking at you... I was so sad to see in 5e they kept them as exactly a mix of other classes bunged together.
I think nobody has discovered yet what a true unique Ranger should be like, and with Paladin... Close but not enough.
Sorcerer don't even let me start on it... The class to have magic inside the blood, and they cast exactly the same as Wizards. For me Sorcerers should have had free form magic. Equivalent in power to Wizard, but creating effects on the fly, no spell list.


@ Maxperson - spells is one idea, but I think I'd probably go with some kind of skill tree with stackable abilities that's separate from spells. It's probably inevitable that some of the mechanics of a Psionic class, should we see one, will be based at least in part on spell casting of some sort - something with slots and levels, probably that at least resembles the list from the UA. I don't think adding more spells is a better answer than non-spell abilities, which would allow you to step outside the current spell mechanics and do something different. I might even go so far as to say that the non-spell mechanics are what will make or break the idea of a Psion class generally. Reskinning and modifying the spell rules is pretty easy, ti's the rest of the class that will take some ingenious thought.
Erathis bless you, I wish they could go this way, but at this point seeing what Wizards designers are tweeting, I am losing hope.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Aragorn isn't forced into spellcasting.

DnD Ranger's use Spellcasting, Aragorn is still the same as Tolkien wrote him.

But, my point has never been it is impossible to make a subsystem uniquely suited for psionics. Of course we could.

The point was that, if we are going to give them telekinesis, we might end up first looking at the spell telekinesis, since the developers already defined what that does and said "these are the mechancis for telekinesis."

The design so far has been the "conservation of mechanics", so it is not unreasonable that they are going to reuse spells when giving out abilities. Not because "everything is magical and should be spells anyways" but because "if we have this piece that does exactly what we want, why are we going to make a new piece that does exactly the same thing, but with a different name"?





Sure, they should definetly have some unique mechanics. I'm just saying they won't be completely unique mechanics. WoTC is going to recycle as they build.
Aragorn also has some paladin aspects on him, not only ranger.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Aragorn isn't forced into spellcasting.

DnD Ranger's use Spellcasting, Aragorn is still the same as Tolkien wrote him.
A player who wanted to play Aragorn was the original Ranger.... but as I said they didnt consider creating a well defined skill system applicable to everyone and instead all the way back made that class using spells it was not because "D&D rangers" have spells it was because D&D game designers were using the same subsystem they did for the characters able to do something extraordinary. (but because they made low level effects kick in at high level it was arguably a failure)
But, my point has never been it is impossible to make a subsystem uniquely suited for psionics. Of course we could.
And it might be a waste of energy for no real benefit or it might result in imbalance between those using different systems (in fact it usually has) and it might require needless complexity and so needless subsystem learning on the part of players. So that while skills were elaborated on in the previous edition it was done so largely by using the same structure and level gating and so on as the utility powers and tada utility spells / rituals.

The design so far has been the "conservation of mechanics", so it is not unreasonable that they are going to reuse spells when giving out abilities. Not because "everything is magical and should be spells anyways" but because "if we have this piece that does exactly what we want, why are we going to make a new piece that does exactly the same thing, but with a different name"?
Yes indeed I agree entirely but there is a very vocal crew who insists everything should be using distinct mechanical structures.
 
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Lord-Archaon

Explorer
Tadah yes indeed I agree entirely but there is a very vocal crew who insists everything should be using distinct mechanical structures.
Count me very much into that crowd (although I wouldn't want "everything" with different mechanics, I do see cases for reusing), and I will tell you why by quoting @Chaosmancer


The point was that, if we are going to give them telekinesis, we might end up first looking at the spell telekinesis, since the developers already defined what that does and said "these are the mechancis for telekinesis."
See, this is the first fallacy. We don't have "mechanics for telekinesis". We have an arcane spell, cast using Vancian magic, requiring chanting of magical words accompanied by gesturing, that happens to be called Telekinesis.

First of all, they screwed up by naming it like that. In line with the Arcane, it should have been called Bigby's Hand and it should have had some kind of visual display, just like Mage Hand has. Because as it is now it steps over Psionics, and not the other way around. But this is a detail we can't change unfortunately, and my point is another.

The point is, as I said, we just have one spell with the name, not everything that can ever be called Telekinesis. Sure, makes no sense to change it if we want to do exactly the same, but who said we would want to do the same, with Psionics?

Long story short: the vocal crew who insists everything (not true, not everything) should be using distinct mechanical structure, insist that the effects should be different, not the same.
In Psionics, Telekinesis would be very different from what is portrayed by the spell inaptly called like this. And that's what would set it apart, not just the mechanical way we make the same effect.

The design so far has been the "conservation of mechanics", so it is not unreasonable that they are going to reuse spells when giving out abilities. Not because "everything is magical and should be spells anyways" but because "if we have this piece that does exactly what we want, why are we going to make a new piece that does exactly the same thing, but with a different name"?
You can see why I am against this now. Because I am against the postulate behind the reasoning, which you make explicit when you say "this piece that does exactly what we want": I don't want to reinvent stuff that does exactly what we want. I am saying that possibly NONE of the current spells does exactly what we want, save for the spells that were created exactly for this purpose, and by doing so they actually make things worse, because they force the effects as they should be on a system that conveys the flavor terribly. First because of spell components, second because of how Vancian magic is (although admittedly this is solved somewhat by the spell point system).

Psionics is supposed to be completely different from magic, or there would be absolutely no need for it. There is a need for a different force, because magic is in essence the manipulation of external forces that are bigger than the caster. Psionic on the contrary is the controlling of hidden potential within the user, and doesn't borrow power from anywhere or anything else.
This is why it needs to be way more flexible than Vancian Magic: because the user has full control on it. And that's why it needs different mechanics.
If you just think of psionics as the collection of effects it produces, and not the way they are produced, and the niche they should fill when it comes to player's fantasies, you are better off just expanding the spell list and producing subclasses, like they are doing.

But here I touch my last point: there is a need, from the players' perspective, of Psionics as something different. It has to do with the psychology behind the role-playing. It's important for some players to feel like their character doesn't rely on external forces and the manipulation of something mysterious and inhuman like magic. You could say it's about the flavor, and I refer back to my previous point: the flavor is not conveyed by the spell mechanics. Not at all. These type of players don't want just a story: they want to feel that difference at the table, in the gaming aspect. They want to feel like they are harnessing a different system.
If you don't feel the same, it doesn't mean you should deprive these players of this possibility. The point of 5e, at least in its beginning, was to have a system that is modular, with players and DMs deciding what to use and what not to. By not making a different system you lose everything I described, for no good reason: because you could have the different system and just avoid using it, ESPECIALLY since you think we already have all the elements needed to recreate the effect. YOU could have Psionics with existing elements. People who are invested in it cannot, and you shouldn't root for this outcome, because you have nothing to lose in this, but they do.
 
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dwayne

Explorer
you could always use the spell point system in the DMG to make it feel more like the old psionic class and less like the wizard page 288, add in the sorcerer meta abilities to alter the spells further and i think it would be good. Maybe reduce the points some as the flexibility would be a way to make it better and you could use points to cast any of the spells of a level as long as you had enough.
 
Ok, so the argument is that a better skill system would remove the need for spells.
Sure, I guess?
It might reduce the need to append spells to concepts that don't call for them. But, it'd have to be a significantly better skill system.

But I would also say that a skill system that complex would necessarily be a nightmare to add to, and would move away from "roll the skill, figure out the result" because you would need chart upon chart for various factors to make it complex and robust enough to do all that lifting.
Not sure any of that is true, it'd depend upon the direction taken. More granularity, for instance, won't necessarily make skills a more viable alternative to magic, quite the contrary, it could increase the impetus to counter-genre 'realism,' making them even less viable.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
What do you thing about a psion class with two pools of power points? One for short rest for disciplines and the other would need a long rest for science and for (instantaneous) metapsionic effects (for example energy substitution). Different but not too complex for players used to warlocks.

About flavor my source of inspiration are the characters of manganime whose power is fruit by a hard training. This is a common trope in Japanese fiction. The wizard is study, the sorcerers is talent, the warlock is deals with strange powers, and the psionic is willpower and effort, the epitome of self-control.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
A player who wanted to play Aragorn was the original Ranger.... but as I said they didnt consider creating a well defined skill system applicable to everyone and instead all the way back made that class using spells it was not because "D&D rangers" have spells it was because D&D game designers were using the same subsystem they did for the characters able to do something extraordinary. (but because they made low level effects kick in at high level it was arguably a failure)
Okay, this is a discussion that involves design decisions that started in the 70's and has nothing to do with the Psionics.

Should Gygax and Arneson designed the ranger to use a complex skill system instead of magic? I don't care. I honestly don't. They gave the Ranger magic. It happened, and so for as long as I have ever seen a DnD book where the Ranger was in it, they had magic. Except for 4e.

So, for longer than I have been alive, "DnD Rangers have spells" whether that was because they felt the 1/100th elvish and king nature of Aragon meant he should have magic, or because they were too lazy to allow extraordinary people use their grit and mettle to do extraordinary things that did not involve magic does not matter. They made the call, the game has followed that path. DnD Rangers have magic.

And it might be a waste of energy for no real benefit or it might result in imbalance between those using different systems (in fact it usually has) and it might require needless complexity and so needless subsystem learning on the part of players. So that while skills were elaborated on in the previous edition it was done so largely by using the same structure and level gating and so on as the utility powers and tada utility spells / rituals.
If you want to make all Psionics use skills, go ahead. I don't think that applies to anything I've been saying, and I don't think it will make anyone else happy. But if you want the skill system to cover it, go for it.

Yes indeed I agree entirely but there is a very vocal crew who insists everything should be using distinct mechanical structures.
I understand that, which is why I was trying to explain a very logical reason why the designers might be hesitant to pull the trigger on creating entirely distinct mechanical structures. By pointing out that the current design philosphy helps prevent bloat from near-identical abilities, by tying them into magic and spells.

I'm not even making a judgement call on whether it is the best decision for the game or will lead to ruin. I'm just trying to show where the thought process might be more complex than "Despite being a fan and working my dream job designing the game I love I am either too lazy or too stupid to innovate interesting ideas and instead want to make everything spells because that is easy and I am both lazy and stupid."

Instead, I propose there is a logical and thoughtful idea behind the design choice, and that they will likely stick with it in the future.


See, this is the first fallacy. We don't have "mechanics for telekinesis". We have an arcane spell, cast using Vancian magic, requiring chanting of magical words accompanied by gesturing, that happens to be called Telekinesis.
You are looking to the point of "how do I activate this ability" I was looking at "what is the effect of this ability".

That is not a fallacy, that is a difference in focus.

IT allows you to use an action to move creatures and objects with a thought, as long as they are in range. Making ability checks vs strength, moving and even lifting them if they fail, restraining them with the grip. Or move an object up to 1,000 lbs, ripping objects away from people, using fine manipulation. The only deficiency in the spell is the lack of explicit ability to whack people with the objects you pick up.

And frankly, I'm not concerned at all about it being "arcanely cast" because it could be a bard spell and cast by playing the flute, or used as a Sorcerer spell with Silent Metamagic and used with no sign, or put into an item like a rod and activated that way. The method of delivery is changeable. It is the effect that matters.


First of all, they screwed up by naming it like that. In line with the Arcane, it should have been called Bigby's Hand and it should have had some kind of visual display, just like Mage Hand has. Because as it is now it steps over Psionics, and not the other way around. But this is a detail we can't change unfortunately, and my point is another.
That would have been incredibly confusing, considering it would step on the spell Bigby's Hand. The one that has a visual display of a hand just like Mage Hand. Might have something to do with why they called it Telekinesis, since instead of being Bigby's Hand, it was meant to be a spell that granted Telekinesis.


The point is, as I said, we just have one spell with the name, not everything that can ever be called Telekinesis. Sure, makes no sense to change it if we want to do exactly the same, but who said we would want to do the same, with Psionics?
I'm going to regret asking I suppose, but what else do you want Telekinesis to do other than move a person or object without touching it?

I mean, I guess it is limited in requiring an action, so it can't be a used as a reaction against an attack to stop it, and it is a single focus at a time, so you can't hold up a swarm of different objects, but in terms of what the effect is, it is pretty much the entire thing.


In Psionics, Telekinesis would be very different from what is portrayed by the spell inaptly called like this. And that's what would set it apart, not just the mechanical way we make the same effect.
By doing what?

Would you not make an opposed skill check? Not move creatures up to huge size? Not move objects up to 1,000 lb?

Sure, I could see a Psion class get the ability to have multiple telekinetic effects active at the same time. Of course, the ability to hold an arbitrary number of creatures helpless and rip away all their weapons might just be a little OP, so there will still be limits on it.

See, you can say "well the effect would be very different" but without telling me how you would do something differently, I have to assume that this effect of "move things without touching them, via invisible force using your mental stat" is pretty dang close to what most people would expect from "Telekinesis"



Psionics is supposed to be completely different from magic, or there would be absolutely no need for it. There is a need for a different force, because magic is in essence the manipulation of external forces that are bigger than the caster. Psionic on the contrary is the controlling of hidden potential within the user, and doesn't borrow power from anywhere or anything else.
This is why it needs to be way more flexible than Vancian Magic: because the user has full control on it. And that's why it needs different mechanics.
If you just think of psionics as the collection of effects it produces, and not the way they are produced, and the niche they should fill when it comes to player's fantasies, you are better off just expanding the spell list and producing subclasses, like they are doing.
"Completely different from magic" and "doesn't borrow power from anywhere" are your own conclusions. Maybe I want to do Psionics through a Hinduism lens, manipulating the dream of reality by pulling upon the power of the universal consciousness. Maybe I want to do it through the connection to the Universal Subconcious of all living things, a Noosphere of power just waiting to be tapped and exploited.

All of those are Psionic, but they are definetly explicitly tapping into forces and powers from beyond the self.

And, just because you want it to be more flexible, doesn't mean that is a good idea for balance.

The best you are likely to get is like the mystic did. A power that allows you to spend more points to increase the effect. That isn't "more flexible" than arcane magic, just divided up differently.

And, of course the way they are produced matters, but you can change that with such minimal effort it isn't even a blip on the design radar.

Look, I'll do it now. Instead of saying an arcane formula when casting a spell, you give a shout of effort as you bend the universe to your will. Instead of weaving complex formula with your hands, you point at the offending individual as you glower at them.

Done. It is no longer Arcane magic being cast.

Because, frankly, 99% of the time. My players just say "I cast Fireball" and we describe the effects. Very rarely do they mention how they do so, what materials are in their hands, or any of that. "I cast Fireball, make a Dex Save" is no more Arcane than "I cast Cure Wounds, gain back roll die 5 hp" is a prayer to the God Ilmater, or a call upon the power of nature, or the sound of beautiful music.


But here I touch my last point: there is a need, from the players' perspective, of Psionics as something different. It has to do with the psychology behind the role-playing. It's important for some players to feel like their character doesn't rely on external forces and the manipulation of something mysterious and inhuman like magic. You could say it's about the flavor, and I refer back to my previous point: the flavor is not conveyed by the spell mechanics. Not at all. These type of players don't want just a story: they want to feel that difference at the table, in the gaming aspect. They want to feel like they are harnessing a different system.

If you don't feel the same, it doesn't mean you should deprive these players of this possibility. The point of 5e, at least in its beginning, was to have a system that is modular, with players and DMs deciding what to use and what not to. By not making a different system you lose everything I described, for no good reason: because you could have the different system and just avoid using it, ESPECIALLY since you think we already have all the elements needed to recreate the effect. YOU could have Psionics with existing elements. People who are invested in it cannot, and you shouldn't root for this outcome, because you have nothing to lose in this, but they do.
I can't help players feel different at the table, if they are so determined to feel different that they can't possibly use the same system. If you look upon a Druid wielding the might of Spirits of Nature older than civilization, a cleric channeling the divine will of the Goddess of the Hearth, a Bard singing songs passed from master to master over 500 years to alter reality, and say "But, you all are too similiar, I want to be different instead" then I think this is an issue deeper than mechanics.

Because, what I said above does't contradict what I just said. The fact that Cure Wounds looks the same no matter who casts it doesn't change the fact that the theme and power of the classes does feel different when people care enough to channel that into the story.

But, you are saying that isn't different enough. You have to be even more different. You can't just use spell points, that's still too similiar. You need something completely unique that no one else is using. You can't just use the same mechanics and change the story you tell with them, it needs to be completely different.

Well, I'm not going to support that.

I'm not going to get in the way either, I'm not advocating against it. That could be a fine way to do things, end up with some fun mechanics. But, if we don't get it, we don't lose Psionics. Stories are not effected by this decision, players can look at it and change whatever they want.

In fact, as you demonstrated in this very thread, you can make your own psionic system that is exactly what you want, and if they release something that isn't that... you can still make your own system, still alter it to fit what you want.

Yes, DnD could be more modular. We could have a unique casting system for every race and class, unique skill mechanics for every martial, unique this, unique that... but saying that it is absolutely necessary is not true. And, while that may be a fun system for the people who like it, I think back to this summer when I tried to teach myself Shadowrun 4e.

I picked a single system, "be a mage" and I nearly burnt my brain out trying to understand it all. That single decision was more complex than every single class in 5e combined. I have no idea how cyberware works, cybermancy works, guns work, melee works, I spent everything just trying to understand how spells and spirits work.

And, when I thought, maybe I could run a Shadowrun game, teach some people how to play it, I laughed myself sick. Because I have had players who have trouble picking up 5e. They would never understand Shadowrun.

But, I can definitely say, magic is completely different from anything else in that game's system, and it is highly flexible.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Aragorn also has some paladin aspects on him, not only ranger.
I remember a gaming magazine had their dream 4 man party taken from literature and DnD and gave them (2e) stats. They had Conan as the warrior, an lower level version of Elminster as the mage, someone I can't remember as the rogue, and for the healer they had Aragorn as a paladin. His ranger aspects were simply skills as far as I can recall.
 

Ashrym

Hero
The only deficiency in the spell is the lack of explicit ability to whack people with the objects you pick up.
My first though was use catapult instead.

There are a few telekinetic-like spells that can be applied. Telekinesis is the obvious one, and mage hand was demonstrated in the UA subclass options. The UA list includes these:
  • mage hand
  • catapult
  • magic missile
  • levitate
  • fly
  • psionic blast
  • Otiluke's resilient sphere
  • Bigby's hand
  • telekinesis
  • wall of force
  • forcecage
  • reverse gravity

I think those can all be used to demonstrate telekinetic effects. I would add that knock or animate objects could be used as well as other examples that might be TK manipulation.

I agree that the spells and their effects can be used for a main psionic class without too much work.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Okay, this is a discussion that involves design decisions that started in the 70's and has nothing to do with the Psionics.
LOL its pointing out that D&D often has done this very thing of using shared mechanics. All the way from the beginning you are making it too specifically about the Ranger/skills instead of being about a design paradigm represented its not a new thing is the point. That of popping magic mechanics in for any "you can do awesome. "
They made the call, the game has followed that path. DnD Rangers have magic.
Mine don't and my game is D&D no less than yours. So have fun in your so-called big tent with all the others who want to call mine not D&D.
If you want to make all Psionics use skills, go ahead.
I have no clue why you think this has anything at all related to what I said.
I don't think that applies to anything I've been saying, and I don't think it will make anyone else happy.
I am pointing out ongoing design paradigms. The parallel describes how psionics using spells is just like skillful awesome being added using spells (or what some insist are spell like mechanics in 4e) something which has some very distinctive advantages. (a number of 3e active feats were put in 4e as powers perhaps for a similar reason). When 4e skills got their own built in awesome (the ranger wasn't designed with something considered spells but rather could take abilities that launched off of skills like martial practices and skill/utility powers - which have similar enough presentation that we had people moaning everyone does magic)
I understand that, which is why I was trying to explain a very logical reason why the designers might be hesitant to pull the trigger on creating entirely distinct mechanical structures. By pointing out that the current design philosphy helps prevent bloat from near-identical abilities, by tying them into magic and spells.

I'm not even making a judgement call on whether it is the best decision for the game or will lead to ruin. I'm just trying to show where the thought process might be more complex than "Despite being a fan and working my dream job designing the game I love I am either too lazy or too stupid to innovate interesting ideas and instead want to make everything spells because that is easy and I am both lazy and stupid."

Instead, I propose there is a logical and thoughtful idea behind the design choice, and that they will likely stick with it in the future.
I assumed you understood actually but thought it didnt hurt to elaborate on it. And I am in the same "not making a judgement" boat to be honest.

I may judge when a distinct subsystem is badly done or amounts to DM fiat though
 
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Lord-Archaon

Explorer
My first though was use catapult instead.

There are a few telekinetic-like spells that can be applied. Telekinesis is the obvious one, and mage hand was demonstrated in the UA subclass options. The UA list includes these:
  • mage hand
  • catapult
  • magic missile
  • levitate
  • fly
  • psionic blast
  • Otiluke's resilient sphere
  • Bigby's hand
  • telekinesis
  • wall of force
  • forcecage
  • reverse gravity

I think those can all be used to demonstrate telekinetic effects. I would add that knock or animate objects could be used as well as other examples that might be TK manipulation.

I agree that the spells and their effects can be used for a main psionic class without too much work.
My whole point before, about the mistake of making a spell called Telekinesis, applies to many more.

They made Wizards step on the toes of Psionics many times.

Now, I still do believe you can make Telekinesis different for Psionics (obvious example: it could be free or cost you depending on the weight you move, and be scalable in that, but I would envision the same system also to do perform different actions with the target object or creature) but my point is the first mistake was giving such obviously psionic abilities to arcane spells. Now of course people are going to say we have a spell for that. Well we shouldn't have had.

That said, to reply shortly to @Chaosmancer , of course if you view psionics in such a different way, nothing much to discuss.
 

Lord-Archaon

Explorer
Mine don't and my game is D&D no less than yours. So have fun in your so-called big tent with all the others who want to call mine not D&D.
Oh thank goodness, someone believes in non-magic Rangers! Did you see now they tried to fix Favored Enemy by making them cast Hunter's Mark for free a number of times? So you know, they would casually chant some incantation when they see someone or something they want to kill. Very Ranger-like! Never mind wanting to ambush the creature and giving away your position by chanting the spell... RIDICULOUS.

Which spell-less variant do you use? Homebrew? Published?
 

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